Sports | Football – Italy: no return before mid-September for Ibrahimovic

By La Provence (with AFP)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had a left knee surgery in June, will not be back on the pitch with AC Milan until mid-September, after the international break, Rossonero coach Stefano Pioli said on Sunday.

« Physically, he is better. He has not yet resumed with the team, next week will be very important, with a peak of work with the ball« , explained Pioli on the eve of Milan’s league debut on Monday night on the Sampdoria lawn. »If all goes as we hope he could come back with us (with the group, editor’s note) during the international break« (August 30-September 8), added the coach at a press conference.

« Ibra », who turns 40 in October, injured his knee on May 9 against Juventus. He had missed the last three league games and then had to give up playing the Euro with Sweden. After a few weeks of treatment, the star had to resolve to undergo an operation (arthroscopy) in mid-June.

« A very intelligent player, one of those who play well »

« His role will always be that of a mental and technical leader, a very important point of reference.« , underlined Stefano Pioli who, until the return of the Swede, will count on the French Olivier Giroud, arrived this summer, to lead the Milanese attack.

With Giroud, Pioli says he discovered a « great professional, of very high level and above all a very intelligent player, of those who play well« . »He will bring us a lot of experience« , he added.

Coach Rossonero also welcomed the integration of the other French rookie Mike Maignan, responsible for succeeding in the cage to Gianluigi Donnarumma, gone to Paris SG.

« I’m very happy with Mike, he said. He is a very curious and sometimes suspicious boy, but a mistrust which is useful because he wants to learn. I am delighted with the way he fitted in, he is very strong. « 

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